In 1996-1998, a total of 2285 Ixodes ricinus ticks (1063 nymphs, 637 males, 585 females) were collected from vegetation from 25 different localities in the 8 Polish provinces throughout the country. Ticks inhabited all 25 collection sites. The average number of ticks per collection site was 91.4 +/- 13.7. All 2285 ticks were examined for Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) presence, of which 1333 specimens from 3 provinces were tested by routine indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) using polyclonal antibody PAB 1B29. The remaining 952 specimens from 5 provinces were examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), using FL6 and FL7 primers. The overall infection rate in ticks estimated by these 2 methods was 10. 2%. Nymphs showed lower positivity rate (6.2%) as compared to adult ticks (14.9% in females and 12.4% in males). The highest percentage of infected I. ricinus ticks (37.5%) was noted in the Katowice province while the lowest (4.1%) in the Bia ystok province. In particular collection sites, infection rates varied from 0-37.5%. The obtained results confirmed that B. burgdorferi s.l. is present throughout the distributional areas of I. ricinus in Poland and that a prevalence of spirochete-infected ticks may be high in some locations.